What Homework Time Should Be Like

Everybody with kids in school is back to the homework–dare I call it “grind”?  You’ve probably seen a bujillion articles on how to facilitate your child’s homework —  Things like:
Set up a special spot –OR– Change up the spot a lot.
Do homework immediately after school before any play time –OR– Let your child have some time to unwind before starting homework.
Break it up into short segments –OR– Don’t let your child change activities until he finishes the one he’s doing now.
Offer rewards –OR– Don’t resort to bribery.

It seems advice can be contradictory.  That’s because different things work better for different kids.  But here’s the thing that should hold true for all kids:  Homework shouldn’t be a big deal.  If it is, something’s wrong, and you need to figure out what that is.  Homework should be completed independently.  If you need to help your child figure it out, then the homework isn’t achieving its purpose.  If you spend a lot of time correcting your child’s work so he gets a good grade, you are depriving his teacher of the opportunity to see what he can do on his own.  That means the teacher may not realize he’s not understanding what’s being taught.

Another key consideration is that homework shouldn’t take long. The guideline that it should take 10 minutes for every grade (30 minutes for a 3rd grader, for example) is a good one.  Ask the teacher what kind of time you should expect your child to spend on homework.  If it’s taking too long, let the teacher know.  If most kids are finishing faster, there’s a problem.

So if the homework routine isn’t going smoothly, give us a call.  We’d be happy to help you figure out why.

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